Joining Broom Boats as a new managing director In January 2020, Antony Howell had ambitious plans for the boat yard and marina, but when the first lockdown hit his goals were put on hold.

Instead, Mr Howell decided to use the time to create a clear strategy for the Brundall-based firm's future direction.

He said: "Covid in a way gave us time to re-evaluate what we were doing and we invested in that time to really come out fighting and align to the new vision of what we needed to do. The whole aspect of that was to look at who we were as a marina.

"When I came it was devoid of local people. It was quite evident that the people of Brundall and around weren't either allowed or didn't feel that they could come down to the water.

"So what we've progressively done is open the marina up so that people can come down. One of the first things we did was create a kiosk as Broom Boats in partnership with the Food Vault to deliver the food.

"This gave us the opportunity to say to local people, look you can come down and have a coffee and some food. All of a sudden they are by the river and we feel that we are part of the community as well."

Founded in 1898 by the Broom family, the company has a rich heritage that has seen it involved in the wars, including the Dunkirk evacuations in 1940. It currently operates as a marina and has 24 luxury boats for holiday hire, as well as six available for day hire. The boat yard also continues to offer repair and maintenance services.

Since taking over as managing director, Mr Howell has started implementing his 10 point plan to make the firm carbon neutral. This will include renovating old buildings to add eco-friendly heating, such as solar panels and heat pumps, along with replacing its boats with an electric fleet.

To pay for these plans, the company has been investing in different areas of the business to bring in more money.

This started with the opening of the kiosk within the marina, but Mr Howell revealed that the firm is also in the process of creating water lodges that will allow visitors who do not want to holiday on boats to have an alternative option for holidaying on the water.

In another striking departure for the business, the company has also taken over the nearby pub, The Yare, which is currently in a process of renovating.

Eastern Daily Press: The Yare Pub in 1916 when its was the Yare HotelThe Yare Pub in 1916 when its was the Yare Hotel (Image: Broom Boats)

The pub, which will be renamed when it opens during the summer, dates back to the early 1900s.

Mr Howell said: "It's being renovated to be a beautiful pub and restaurant that will primarily be for the local community, but we also hope to attract visitors from further afield.

"It closed in late November last year and the owners had been there for 40 or 50 years. We had a conversation with them and, quite naturally as it had been part of Broom Boat life for all the time it's been there, it made sense that we acquired it.

"We have plans to make it more accessible to people. It's not going to become some high end yacht club, it's going to be great food at the right price.

"It’s an old building and has some lovely old features and some of those have been preserved so we will be keeping those but renovating the bar areas for example, as well as a new kitchen and new seating areas.

"We will offer breakfast, lunch, afternoon teas and evening meals.

"It’s going to be really important that we use local produce, the pub will be very local – local beers and local produce."